It really is an overwhelming feeling to see a town for the first time and know that for the next year: this is your home. You are filled with curiosity, with fascination, with hope. Yet at the same time, arriving in Lichtenstein, though uncharted and unexplored, provided me with a long-awaited feeling of relief. Finally, I had arrived. Finally, I could settle down. Finally, I was able to start writing this new chapter in life.
The past few days here have been an adventure to say the least. I have spoken German almost exclusively, and by that I mean attempted to throw together German words in an effort to create sentences. I have made literally countless mistakes and I will make countless more, but I have also learned more in the past few days than months of German lessons ever taught me. Being immersed in an unfamiliar country, in a foreign language is truly an experience like no other.
I am beyond excited to begin helping and teaching at Grundschule Zschocken and Gymnasium Professor Dr. Max Schneider. My goal is that I am able to instill in the students a similar interest and admiration for English, that my teachers aroused in me for German. I hope that we—the students, my colleagues, and myself—can all learn from each other, and that I can teach the students as much as they will teach me.
I had the pleasure of meeting the students of Grundschule Zschocken, where they had prepared beautiful welcome songs for me. A few also asked me questions about myself, and I must say, I was super impressed with their English! After the welcome, a little girl approached me to tell me that she could count to twelve in English. I loved how excited she was to show off her English to me—it was a great feeling. I cannot wait to get to know each and every single one of the children, and I hope to have a lasting impact on their education.
My apartment in Lichtenstein is not yet ready, so I am currently staying with Mrs. Siegert, the principal of the primary school (Grundschule), and her family; this has been a fantastic insight into German family life, and they have truly made me feel extremely welcome. Thankfully Mrs. Siegert also helped me with all of the bureaucratic paperwork; otherwise, I would still be standing in the courthouse right now–confused, frustrated, and probably defeated.
Today, my mentor teacher at the high school (Gymnasium), Mrs. Seifert and I went to lunch at a delicious Greek restaurant and then she proceeded to show me around Lichtenstein. It was great getting acquainted with my new town and learning the routes to different places. I think I am really going to love living here and plan to make the most of this year. I hope you are ready for me Lichtenstein!
(Sorry for the lack of photos–the weather has not been great the past few days, so I want to wait to take better pictures when the sun is actually shining.)